Amazon‘s quest for commercial drone delivery will likely face state and federal hurdles, which makes the e-commerce giant’s efforts to implement autonomous delivery all the more difficult, a venture capitalist and early Amazon investor, said Wednesday.
The Federal Aviation Administration could finalize drone regulations over the next 12 months, Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker said in congressional testimony Wednesday. The government previously anticipated commercial drone regulations would not be ready, until the end of 2016 or later.
Amazon and other large tech players including Google, have pushed Washington to allow widespread operation.
Despite the FAA’s faster time frame, Second Avenue Partners co-founder Nick Hanauer said, he expects more complications, including regulatory hurdles by states. He said the FAA’s patience is well-placed for a “very complicated technology problem.”
“For a lot of very good reasons the FAA has a lot to say. Obviously, if things go wrong with your bag of groceries moving through the air, it’ll be a problem,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.”
Amazon is preparing to deliver packages when regulations are in place. It has ambitions to drop parcels to customers within 30 minutes of receiving an order.
“We’d like to begin delivering to our customers as soon as it’s approved,” Amazon vice president Paul Misener said, at the hearing.
Earlier this year, the FAA proposed rules that would allow drones to fly during daylight, within an operator’s sight at no more than 500 feet. Amazon and Google, have advocated letting more sophisticated aircraft fly autonomously for longer distances.
Image credit: CC by MIKI Yoshihito